Needless to say, advancement in tools and the introduction of agile methodology have made testing a lot easier. Processes rely less on human involvement, ensuring faster and more accurate results. But does this mean that the role of a test manager is now insignificant? In agile, testing and development go hand in hand. There is no separate time dedicated to testing. In this mounting pressure of delivering high-quality products in a very limited time, test managers have a very critical role to play. In this article, we’ll look at 5 changes in the role of test managers as we enter the new decade.
From Managing Teams to Enabling Them
In managerial roles, recruiters are now focusing more on soft skills rather than technical skills. Enabling teams require the following set of soft skills in a test manager:
- Quick decision-making: Required to select a blend of manual and automated test approaches for the testing team.
- Risk management: Gathering and assessing information about various risks involved in using a solution.
- Team management: Gather a team with the right mix of skillset and enable them to perform different types of testing to exhaustively test the software.
From Testing to Coaching
Along with having good decision-making skills themselves, test managers are expected to coach testers in making the right decisions as well. Since teams are self-organized and cross-functional in an agile environment, they need to be coached and advised properly to ensure that they make the right decision every time as the right-first-time approach is required for meeting deadlines. The test manager has to support the purpose of testing and at times transition into the roles of an agile coach and Scrum Master.
From Managing the Testers to Managing the Tests
The agile methodology requires greater collaboration among testers developers, analysts, owners, and managers. This collaboration has become easier with test management tools. By equipping teams with these tools, test managers can direct the team’s collective efforts to achieve desired results. Assigning tasks, tracking individual progress, and communicating with testers is now just a few clicks away. This allows the test manager to focus more on tests rather than testers.
From Focusing on Documentation to Focusing on Strategy
When I mentioned above that recruiters focus more on soft skills rather than technical skills, it, in no way, meant that technical skills are not important at all. In fact, especially in an agile environment, test managers are expected to have a broad understanding and a deep knowledge of testing. Because, as opposed to the traditional environment, the test strategy is more important than having a high level of documentation. Documentation needs to be low and concise. The supporting documents should be in a format that encourages extension and amendments to be more responsive to changes.
From Accountability to Facilitating Communication
Collective effort means collective responsibility. No single person is to blame for poor quality in agile. Test managers take up the role of facilitating communication across agile teams working within an organization. The test manager presents an aggregated view of testing to higher management. They are also the escalation point for the testers. The test manager also has to make the right tools available for the testing team.
Listed above are the changes that highlight how roles and responsibilities of test managers have evolved in an agile environment. With increased challenges, test managers must be equipped with efficient test management tools to improve the testing process and achieve optimal results.